Breaking down the series finale
Spoiler alert: Devil in Ohio
Devil in Ohio follows Mae, a young girl who escapes from a Satanic cult after having a pentagram carved into her back. While in the hospital, Mae meets Suzanne, a psychiatrist who works hard to gain Mae’s trust and help her feel safe. Suzanne then becomes Mae’s guardian and works with a detective on Mae’s case. Mae slowly opens up about her experience of being raised in a cult and tries to fit in with the Mathis family.
In the final episode, Mae wins Harvest Queen at the school dance and receives a bouquet of white roses. These flowers are one of Mae’s triggers, and after receiving them, she disappears and ends up with the cult. Suzanne infiltrates the cult to rescue Mae and succeeds in bringing her home. The two settle down while the rest of the family lives elsewhere, fearing that Mae’s affiliation with the cult could put them in danger again.
During Thanksgiving dinner, Suzanne receives a call from Detective Lopez, who informs her that he has discovered that it was Mae who replaced the flower bouquet of red roses with white roses. And it was also Mae who stole a car to get to Amontown. The episode ends there, leaving fans to wonder what this means about Mae’s intentions.
Did Mae manipulate Suzanne to save her?
Changing the flowers, it becomes clear that Mae is not completely innocent, but whether her intentions are good or bad is left to interpretation. It’s possible this was a last-ditch effort for the family to save her. Suzanne had promised Mae that she would never betray her, but when Peter told Suzanne to fire Mae, she agreed that Mae had to leave and was disrupting their family. Mae was undoubtedly hurt by this, as she had tried very hard to fit in with the family in hopes that they would welcome her into their family and protect her.
Throughout the series, Mae appeals to Suzanne’s maternal instincts and her strong desire to save and protect her. However, she fails to earn her place and Suzanne arranges for Mae to live elsewhere. By orchestrating the trigger and stealing a car to return to the cult, Mae essentially manipulates Suzanne into saving her. And simultaneously sends the message that if Suzanne isn’t there to protect her, then Mae risks being captured (or returned) to the cult, ensuring that Suzanne won’t try to send her away again.
However, if the white roses were such a powerful trigger for her, how did she manage to put them out without triggering? Mae went to a store, ordered the flowers, then hid them until she could put them out. If she was able to do all of that, then she may have pulled the trigger, and it didn’t affect her as strongly as she let on, giving even more merit to the theory that she manipulated Suzanne and the Mathis family. .
Was Mae trying to protect the Mathis family?
Throughout the show, Mae is seen creating a shrine and stealing things from the family to make offerings to the devil so she can fulfill her wish to stay with the Mathis family. It’s evident here that although Mae escaped the cult, she wasn’t able to truly leave her belief system behind. This could lead her to believe that if she couldn’t be accepted into the Mathis family, then the cult was the only place she belonged. For worship, she was special and had a purpose.
So it could be that Mae’s intentions are less devious; instead, she realized she was putting the Mathis family in danger. The cult tries desperately to get Mae back and sends people to threaten the Mathis family. They take extreme measures, burning down a family property, sending Mae’s brother to kidnap Jules, and leaving symbols on the family’s car and house as a warning.
Despite Mae’s attempts to fit in, she failed to be normal, and the cult’s influence and brainwashing was strong enough to affect how Mae viewed her relationship with the family. So she pulled the trigger to force herself back into the cult, ensuring the safety of the Mathis family.
Posting the trigger publicly was perhaps a way to send a message to the Mathis family that they were coming back and would finally be out of their lives. If she couldn’t be of use to them, she would return to a place where she was valued, even if it meant her death. It’s possible she really didn’t expect Suzanne or Detective Lopez to come after her, and this time she was really willing to be the cult’s sacrifice since she had ruined and endangered the only family. who had tried to protect her.
Ironically, her wish came true when Suzanne saved her and possibly reinforced her belief in the devil. This can be seen by how elaborate her shrine has become in the latest episode.